James Bond, first openly gay cabinet secretary, appointed to run Veterans Affairs

By: - January 10, 2023 4:14 pm
Hans Christian Heg statute 2012

Wisconsin State Capitol A statue of Hans Christian Heg in front of the capitol; he was a native of Norway who served as a colonel with the Wisconsin volunteers in the Civil War. Photo by Phil Roeder CC BY 2.0

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers appointed James Bond to serve as secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday, making Bond the first openly gay cabinet secretary in state history. 

Bond, who previously worked as deputy secretary, joined the department in 2010 where he has held positions as the administrator of the Divisions of Veterans Benefits and Veteran Services. He’s been deputy secretary since 2019. 

Bond will replace Mary Kolar who recently retired.

James Bond was appointed the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday. (Office of Gov. Tony Evers)

“James has been a dedicated leader at DVA for over a decade and has served the Department and Wisconsin veterans well as deputy secretary,” Evers said in a statement. “As a veteran himself, along with his decades of state service, I have no doubt he will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and expertise to this role as secretary. I look forward to continuing our work together to serve Wisconsin’s more than 300,000 veterans and ensure they receive the benefits, support, and resources they have earned through their service to be successful in their civilian lives.”

Prior to joining the DVA, Bond worked in the state Department of Workforce Development. A disabled veteran, he was on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983 to 1988. 

“I have built a career in service — service to my country, the state of Wisconsin, and to fellow veterans,” Bond said. “As secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, I will continue in this vein and work with veteran advocates across 72 counties and 11 Tribal Nations to deliver benefits and services veterans have earned, tell their stories, and honor their contributions. Together, we will forge a better future for all Wisconsin veterans and their families.”


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.